UAW strike against Detroit Big Three automakers could expand

Union's deadline for striking at more Ford, GM and Stellantis plants is at noon

The United Auto Workers' simultaneous but limited strike against Ford, General Motors and Stellantis could heat up on Friday, when the union plans to announce its next moves in the absence of new contract agreements with Detroit's Big Three.

UAW President Shawn Fain will deliver an update to members via a Facebook live message at 10:00 a.m. ET. He has threatened to expand the strike beyond the single assembly plants at each company at noon unless serious progress has been made in the negotiations.

UAW president Shawn Fain speaks at rally

United Automobile Workers (UAW) President Shawn Fain speaks as UAW members and their supporters gather for Solidarity Sunday at the UAW Region 1 office in Warren, Michigan, on Aug. 20, 2023. Fain is set to give an update Friday morning on the union's (JEFF KOWALSKY/AFP via Getty Images / Getty Images)

There are a number of scenarios that could play out. One is that the union reaches a tentative agreement with each automaker, the strike ends and everyone goes back to work.

In the instance that the two sides have become close enough to a deal for the UAW's satisfaction, the union could extend its deadline and continue talks with the automakers while keeping the strike limited in its present state. 

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UAW leaders are running what the union calls a "stand up strike," in which specific locals are asked to go on strike at their facilities. The union has said that strategy will give it flexibility in escalating the strike incrementally up to a potential nationwide strike if negotiations do not deliver sufficient progress in its view and will make it harder for the auto companies to predict its next move. 

UAW members on picket line

United Auto Workers (UAW) members and supporters rally at the Stellantis North America headquarters on Sept. 20, 2023 in Auburn Hills, Michigan. UAW President Shawn Fain has set a deadline of noon Friday to expand the strike if significant progress i (Bill Pugliano/Getty Images / Getty Images)

Currently, roughly 13,000 of the UAW's 150,000 members at the Big Three are on strike after workers walked off the job a week ago at a GM plant in Wentzville, Missouri; a Stellantis plant in Toledo, Ohio; and a Ford plant in Wayne, Michigan. If no deals are reached with any of the Big Three in time, union workers at additional facilities will receive their orders to shut down operations and join the picket lines.

Ticker Security Last Change Change %
F FORD MOTOR CO. 12.14 -0.12 -0.94%
GM GENERAL MOTORS CO. 39.50 +0.48 +1.23%
STLA STELLANTIS NV 25.62 +0.22 +0.87%

The UAW's plan is to increase the number of striking facilities incrementally at any automaker that has not made a deal if negotiations drag on for more days or weeks.

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If the union reaches an agreement with one or two of the automakers before the deadline, it could end its strike against them and ratchet up the pressure on any remaining by striking at additional plants at the targets.

UAW members picket in Ohio

UAW members picket outside the Jeep Plant on Sept. 18, 2023 in Toledo, Ohio. The UAW's strike could expand Friday. (Photo by Sarah Rice/Getty Images / Getty Images)

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However, if no deal is reached with any of the Big Three, all will be hit with strikes at additional facilities, which Fain is expected to announce Friday. The UAW president has also said he has not ruled out eventually shutting down every plant at each automaker if necessary to get satisfactory contract terms for his members.

FOX Business' Eric Revell contributed to this report.